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CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa — A Marine unit on Okinawa recently received word that it was named the Corps’ “Logistics Unit of the Year.”

The 3rd Materiel Readiness Battalion, 3rd Force Service Support Group, received the honor for supporting the III Marine Expeditionary Force. The unit — more than 1,200 Marines, sailors and civilians spread throughout nine companies — is a combination supply and maintenance battalion. It’s the only unit of its kind in the Corps, said Col. Charles Dallachie, the battalion’s commander.

Throughout 2004, the battalion gave intermediate supply support to 52 units on and off Okinawa and intermediate maintenance support to 68 units, Dallachie said. It deployed more than 620 Marines and sailors to support 26 exercises in 12 countries.

Despite the travel and workload, Dallachie said in a phone interview, the unit kept ground equipment readiness at 94 percent, or “pretty darn high. You’re not going to find any better Marines and sailors who know their job than here in III MEF.”

In 2004, the battalion also completed more than 14,000 equipment repair orders with an average repair cycle time of 27 days, which contributed to the 94 percent readiness, he said.

Mobile three- or four-Marine maintenance support teams deployed 1,126 times on Okinawa and to Camp Fuji, Japan, to provide on-site repairs. Dallachie said that on average, using the mobile teams reduced maintenance times up to five days for units on Okinawa and 10 days for units off-island.

Other highlights of the battalion’s year include:

The Corrosion Rehabilitation Facility refurbished 1,650 pieces of equipment, saving $16 million in shipping costs to the States.The Electronics Maintenance section saved more than $1.3 million in circuit card replacements by repairing 278 cards.A new computer program got repair parts into mechanics’ hands more quickly by reducing requisition processing to one day; it used to take four to eight.Using an Army facility at Camp Carroll, South Korea, to work on gear requiring high levels of repair saved the unit saved from $10,000 to $50,000 for each of the 50 items repaired there, and returned the equipment to service faster. Such equipment used to be sent back to the States, often taking it out of action for almost a year.Dallachie said he was surprised to beat the competition — 1st and 2nd service support groups’ maintenance battalions — because they’ve deployed to Iraq, but added the recognition shows his unit also is vital.

“What the Marines and sailors of 3rd Materiel Readiness Battalion do is not sexy or high-speed, and you probably won’t see recruiting posters with photos of them performing their mission,” he said. “But without their efforts and dedication this MEF would quickly grind to a halt.”

Dallachie will travel to Washington, D.C., to receive the award in mid-August. He said he plans to present the award to the battalion during a formation after his return.


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